Thursday, 1 June 2006

Dodgy boiler

Gees, where to begin? I’m in the middle of a major bake-in: fudge brownies (getting fudgier with every tweak and twist), Millionaire’s shortbread, chocolate Guinness cake (can’t get enough of this one and always have to make extra for old greedy chops here). Down the corridor is some serious drilling and hammering action - nothing exciting, just the new boiler being put in. The old one was about 50 years old and finally packed up the other week leaving us without hot water. Nice. Lots of water boiling has ensued including all pots on deck to pull off the arduous task of creating a hot bath. Very pre-war. Quite rewarding actually and you sure as hell need one after all that to-ing and fro-ing with those steaming vessels.

At the weekend we were down in Bognor Regis (I’d always wanted to visit Bognor, ever since I insisted on it being the location of my very first ‘business’ when I was 14. Business Studies GCSE: we all had to pick a project - mine was called Chocolate Unlimited and was a chocolate cake shop (!) I don’t remember a lot about it apart from the break-even chart and being split up from my friend Lozza because we were messing around too much).

We were there for The Rox festival which, I have to say, was not a success. So much of my first year in business is going to be figuring out what not to do and though I didn’t get any closer to Donald Trump status in Bognor, I learnt some valuable lessons and picked up some very good advice from some of the ‘old hands’ in the biz. The Tex-Mex man, North Carolina sweetcorn guy and Bill with the Chinese food trailer were all more than happy to chew the cud with me (whilst we waited for Bognor to find their appetites) about the pitfalls of this trade. There they were with these big, smooth-running operations - all ready for the crowds that festis (usually) attract. And there was my van, gorgeous and cute and everything but…we need to address some logistics before entering that particular arena. Yikes!

Oh, I haven’t even mentioned my long weekend in Havana! Well, what I should say is my week in an all-inclusive in Varadero which was supposed to entail me lying around in the sun recharging my batteries whilst having my drink regularly re-filled but, after a couple of days of resort hell, I was soon high-tailing it over to la ciudad to see what Cuba really had to offer…Damn! That place was doing it for me in a major fashion. I hooked up with a British guy who’d been living there for a while and knew all the best nooks and crannies to get lost in.

If I ever wanted to write a book that’s where I’d go: layer upon layer of questions and fascination and contradiction and SPICE! A bar crawl alone threw up enough to keep me going for weeks but then there’s the music and the dancing. Now I thought I’d seen some crazy dance moves in my time but this was something else. Jaw-dropping - you know, I did my best, I tried to get down but…these people are in another league.

I’m going back to Cuba for a proper stay next time. As long as I get through this summer in one piece. This weekend: the Strictly Dance Fever wrap party. Bring it on!